The establishment of Sringeri Sharada Peetham
This Sunday we have a story from Deivathin Kural(Voice of God) about the establishment of Sringeri Sharada Peetham.
Adi Shankara, once met Kumarila Bhattar(an incarnation of Muruga to help Shankara) who was sacrificing his life. Shankara preached about his Advaita to Kumarila Bhattar who was very impressed by it. Kumarila told him to meet Mandana Mishra, who lived in the city of Mahishmathi, so that he can preach Shankara's advaita to the world. Mandana was the incarnation of Lord Brahma and his wife was the incarnation of Goddess Saraswati. He followed Karma Mimamsa Marga. He didn't like Sanyasis who go in the way of Gnana. Shankara reached his home. There was a Sraaddham(ச்ராத்தம்) going on in his home because of which he closed his door. But Shankara was detemined to grace Mandana with his blessings.
In those days, wizards say a Mantra and make the coconut tree bend. Outside the house of Mandana, there was a cocunut tree and there was a wizard passing by. Shankara asked him to teach the art of making the coconut tree bend. He taught Shankara and the coconut tree bent down. Shankara climbed the bent tree and the tree swang and he entered his house.
On seeing a Sanyasi entering his house, Mandana became angry and wanted him out of house. However, as per the advise of Jaimini Maharishi and Veda Vyasa Maharishi, who were present there, Mandana made Shankara to have food after the completion of the Sraaddham. Shankara replied "I have not come here for alms. I have come here as per the reference of Kumarila Bhattar." The moment Mandana heard the word 'Kumarila Bhattar', his hatred towards Shankara was reduced. "Please accept the alms. We can have our debate after the Sraaddha". The Sraadha was completed succesfully and Vyasa and Jaimini took leave from them.
The debate started and Sarasawani, also known as Ubhaya Bharathi, the wife of Mandana was declared the judge. Sarasawani was in a dilemma. If her husband loses, she can't tell him that he has lost and it wouldn't be nice to tell a great Sanyasi that he has lost. So using her wits, she asked both to wear the garland and warned that if the garland dries, the participant will be the loser. Before starting the arguement, they made a promise. It was, if Shankara won, Mandana should accept Sanyasa and if Mandana won, Shankara should enter Grihastashrama and do all the Karma and Anushtaanas. The debate started. Similar to the debate between Vyasa and Shankara, this debate took place with 2 brilliant and knowledgable participants.
The both debated quoting the Slokas of many Upanishads. By the replies of Shankara, Mandana Mishra understood that his philosophy is not right and Shankara's is the right one. He accepted Gnana Marga mentally but didn't stop arguing. At this stage, the garland on Mandana's neck dried. How can a wife declare that his husband has to accept Sanyasa. The way she expressed was impressive. She prostrated to both and told them "Please come for accepting alms".
Mandana Mishra became a disciple of Shankara and accept Sanyasa with the name 'Sureshvaracharya'. Sarasawani thought what she could do without her husband? So, she decided to return to Brahma Loka. But, Shankara stopped her and asked to debate with him. Shankara also won with Sarasawani. Shankara requested Sarasawani to stay in human world and bless them. She agreed and laid a condition that she will follow him but he should not turn back and check if she is coming. If Shankara does so, she will stop there. They started walking and Shankara heard the sound from her anklets.
They walked and walked and reached Sringeri in the banks of the river Tungabhadra. There Shankara saw a snake holding a umbrella for a pregnant frog. Will the frog be protected by a snake anywhere? Shankara thought it would nice if a Sharadambal temple is constructed in such a place without hatredness. As they reached the banks of the river, Shankara couldn't hear the sound of anklets. Shankara doubts and turns back. He couldn't hear the sound as her feet went inside the sand. As thought, a Sharadambal temple was constructed. He also established a Mutt with the name 'Sringeri Sharada Peetham'.